Dear Penn State-

I’m not a football-aholic.   I’m not from Pennsylvania.  I live next door in Scarlet and Grey country.  I am just  a regular every day any body.

If you teach at Penn State, or attend Penn State, or love Penn State-I understand.  You are being held accountable in some manner for something you didn’t do.

I just want you to know that I am glad Penn State the “institution” has to pay the price (so to speak) for something that the institution and it’s leaders should have done differently.   It’s the institution, and the individuals in roles of authority, who should have/could have done things differently to stop the harm that was being done to young children.

That being said.   I’m sorry that you have to now pay that price.  I’m sorry, but very hopeful.   Hopeful in an almost idealistic and possibly unrealistic way.  I’m hoping you can be better than you ever were, in a totally different way.  I hope that you have leaders in place now, teachers and instructors, and students as well-who want to create the kind of school that all schools should be.  A place of learning.  A place of development.  A safe place.

I think you have an opportunity to take a terrible situation and create a new mecca for academia.  I hope you take the lead in focusing on, and returning to, what education is about.   I hope you stand up and tell the world your school is not about football.  Your school wants to learn from this, teach about this, and be all that a place of learning should be about: the students and their desire to learn.  I hope your school becomes an institution of compassion, outreach, education and humanity.   I’m sure it already has these things in it’s foundation.   We just didn’t hear about it as much as we did (or have recently) about  football.

No matter what the impact is on football, I really don’ t think football should be the issue.  If the football program suffers, so be it.  Yes that’s going to impact students who attend Penn State because of football, to play it or watch it.   I have seen and been on the edge of the football culture most of my life.  And I kind of shudder saying that.  Football?  Is a culture?  What’s wrong with us?

Football is nothing.

Sorry, but it is nothing.

A child, a child is something.  A child should be valued and a cherished part of our culture.  A child is our culture.

I feel sympathy for the people impacted by what has happened.  Because it sure has had a rippling effect/affect.  I don’t feel bad that football has suffered.  Football may be fun, it may have a role in many people’s lives, but it should not be valued above anyone’s life.   Football should not define a man.  A man’s actions towards others  is what should define him.   I don’t recall adoring any man for the impact he has had on the football field.  I do recall, past and current, men who I adore for the things they did in life.  Were some great football players and coaches great men?  Of course.  But not because they played football, because they did honorable things with their lives.   Their behaviors, their outreach to others, their compassion, their action to help others, or build communities, their devotion to family and friends, their humanity-these things define a man.  At least, to me.

I do feel bad for the community who has to deal with the impact.   But not nearly as bad as I feel for the children who suffered at the hands of a monster.

Penn State, I look forward to you moving ahead.   I anticipate great things from great people.   I hope to see the young students of Penn State hold their heads up, step forward and out of  this aftermath of change and shake up to build their school and community back to a powerhouse.    A powerhouse of education.  A leader in learning about and protecting children.  I look for great changes that may make other institutions step back and say hey, we need to get our priorities straight.  We want to help in the development of great people.  And it might not involve a game.

I watch you Penn State.  I watch for great things from wonderful people.

Peace and God Speed in your healing.

14 thoughts on “Dear Penn State-

  1. I know it’s an overused phrase, but children really are our future. We need to take better care of them because one day they will be taking care of us. We as a society need to get our priorities in order,

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  2. Gosh, this is WELL done, my friend! I love what you say about football being nothing and then going on to apologize but repeat it. Great rhetorical device! This one should be Freshly Pressed. Really, really well done!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

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    • Oh my dear friend Kathy, you have no idea how much I appreciate those words. It’s such a difficult and complex problem with layers and layers. But there’s only two layers that matter. The children who were hurt. And the right thing to do now. Thank you for reading and ‘talking’ to me. 🙂

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  3. I have also written about The Penn State topic…since I lived thete for so many years I had many friends who had attended the college. It’s a sad situation all the way around and a 157 history has been tarnished by the sick actions of a few and the cover up of many. Great post.

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    • Thank you. I know. So many wrongs. I hope those who are there now can build something better from scratch. I hope mostly for the children who were hurt, to heal.

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  4. Although I live in PA and have ties to Penn State, I am not a football fan….but had always respect Joe Paterno…and after everything I have read I like your post the best. From an outsider looking in. It was such a deceitful thing to do especially to the children who put their trust in Sandusky and the leaders of Penn State, it was deceitful to the football players now also paying the price (past, present and future) and to us who grew up and watched a man who not only wanted his players to succeed in football but in academics. He gave so much time, money and of himself to the students of Penn State, but because of poor judgement due to selfishness and greed he ruined the lives of many young boys, now men, ruined the reputation of a great school and tarnished a well deserved record of the football players that actually worked for that record. But we will move on, my husband, son and other true blue fans think this new coach has what it takes to move forward, already we are seeing the responsibility of the football players that have decided to honor their contracts. This is our future – honorable men that are willing to work hard to right a wrong. Out of this very tragic experience to those young men, child molestation is now out in the open and we can pray that a lot more lives can now be spared through this awareness. Thank you for writing this, by reading more posts like this will bring healing and restoration to all those involved. Patty

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  5. Thank you for such a thoughtful reply Patty. I am very happy to see those young men stay with the school. It’s the leaders and students, now, who have the great opportunity to make such a difference. When all is said and done, a winning football season holds no shine next to a man or woman who lives and works honorably. I really do anticipate great things from great people. It won’t change what happened, but in all hopes it will prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

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  6. This is a fantastic post, and I have to agree with Kathy. It deserves to be Freshly Pressed. Having spent almost a lifetime on the sidelines of academia, I have often wondered when the collegiate world will wise up and realize that football is not the be-all and end-all. But this… to hurt children and have the administration let it go… it’s so wrong that I don’t even know how to put it into words without ranting. So, I’ll just end with this…

    Well said!! (And if there was a button to push to nominate this post for Freshly Pressed, I’d be pushing it.)

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    • Thanks Robin. I really appreciate your wonderful response. Sad, that there is even any argument about this at all. What bothers me, in addition, is that the school personnel who had this information allowed him on the property and among them. How could they look in the mirror, knowing what they knew, and not doing anything about it. I would have died from the guilt alone thinking every single day that he could at that moment be hurting a child. I get sick as well, thinking about it.

      THank you for the feedback Robin.

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